Admittedly, I’m not particularly well-versed in classic 70’s prog, especially those groups considered second after the more popular Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and the likes. Van der Graaf Generator is one of these bands that I always knew but never indulged in. After listening to ‘H to He, Who Am the Only One’ (enticed by this fantastic name), I’m kicking myself for not having listened to them sooner.
Peter Hammill’s explosive vocals, the brilliant crossover into jazz fusion with Hammond organs and eccentric sax solos are fantastic. It brings a very dark, early Crimson vibe with an often-felt grandeur in the vocals, reed and wind instruments – but even ‘House With No Door’ reminds me of early David Bowie, with a focus on the ballad-like piano and vocal duet.
I’ve only listened to the album a handful of times, but every time it’s leaving a fantastic impression with its powerful, interesting progressions which never seem to tire. ‘Killers’ is so excellent at this, with its thumping verses and abrasive instrumental fills, that I often find myself returning to the start of the album before I’ve finished it – just to listen to this track again.
What do you think of ‘H to He, Who Am the Only One’ and of Van der Graaf Generator as a whole? More importantly – which album of theirs should I move onto next?
Favourite tracks: ‘Killer’ and ‘The Emperor in his War Room’
Post originally published on the Prog Talk FB page on 22/04/2016 by ~Cerpin Taxt.